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The Next Reel • Season 13 • Series: 2023 DGA Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film Nominees • The Banshees of Inisherin

The Banshees of Inisherin

“It was all going fine until he chopped off all his fingers.”

In 2022, writer-director Martin McDonagh reunited with his In Bruges stars, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson, to create a haunting tale of friendship, loss, and the far-reaching consequences of our actions. Set against the backdrop of the Irish Civil War in 1923, The Banshees of Inisherin was filmed on the breathtaking Achill Island and Inishmore, capturing the essence of a remote Irish community. Join us – Pete Wright and Andy Nelson – as we kick off the final series in this season of looking at films nominated in various award categories over the last 100 years – a format we’ve thoroughly enjoyed exploring. We begin our 2023 DGA Awards Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Theatrical Feature Film Nominees series with a conversation about The Banshees of Inisherin.

A Microcosm of War and Friendship

In our discussion, we explore how The Banshees of Inisherin serves as a microcosm for the larger conflict of the Irish Civil War. The sudden dissolution of Pádraic and Colm’s friendship mirrors the division and brutality of the war, with both men stubbornly refusing to reconcile. We also delve into the film’s examination of the dehumanization of violence and how even the most trivial of disagreements can escalate into devastating battles.

Throughout the episode, we touch upon various aspects of the film that contribute to its brilliance, such as the powerhouse performances of Farrell, Gleeson, Kerry Condon, and Barry Keoghan; the stunning Irish landscapes that create a captivating atmosphere; and the role of animals as extensions of the characters’ identities and emotional states. We also ponder the potential for this story to become a legendary tale passed down through generations, becoming an origin story for future pub conversations.

Other topics covered in our conversation include:

  • The exploration of blind spots in self-perception and the journey of self-discovery
  • The cultural conflicts and stereotypes at play within the island community
  • The tragic consequences of the characters’ inability to move past their differences
  • The film’s seamless blending of humor and heartbreak

The Banshees of Inisherin is a masterful exploration of the complexities of human relationships and the far-reaching consequences of our actions. Martin McDonagh’s deft direction, combined with the brilliant performances of the cast, makes for a film that is both thought-provoking and emotionally resonant. While the film’s darker themes may not be for everyone, we found it to be a captivating and worthwhile cinematic experience. We have a great time talking about it, so check it out then tune in. The Next Reel – when the movie ends, our conversation begins!

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When the movie ends, our conversation begins. We love movies. We’ve been talking about them, one movie a week, since 2011. It’s a lot of movies, that’s true, but we’re passionate about origins and performance, directors and actors, themes and genres, and so much more. So join the community and let’s hear about your favorite movies, too.